Richland County Criminal Court

Richland County Criminal Court hears all criminal cases in Richland County. Below you will find specific information about criminal cases and how they are handled in Richland County.

Defendant Sentencing

At a sentence hearing the judge will inform the defendant of the sentence that will be imposed. This sometimes occurs at the same hearing in which the defendant is found guilty (either by trial or plea agreement). In can also occur at a later date, most often this is due to the complexity of the case where more time is needed to determine the appropriate sentence.

Richland County Arraignments

An arraignment is a court hearing. In Richland County this is the first thing that will happen in a criminal case. The defendant will be brought before a judge in Richland County Criminal Court and the judge will read the charges that were filed against the defendant. The judge will also read the rights the defendant has and ask the defendant if they understand both the charges filed against them and their rights as a defendant in the case. In Richland County a plea of Guilty, Not Guilty or No Contest may be entered. In a guilty or no contest plea the sentencing of the defendant may take place at the same arraignment hearing or a later date may be scheduled for sentencing. For a not guilty plea, a date will be set for a trial.

Richland County Criminal Court

Richland County Criminal Court

Jury Deliberation

In a jury trial in Richland County, after both the prosecution and defense have rested, the judge will give instructions to the jury and jury deliberations will begin. The jury will convence in a private room to discuss and deliberate the innocence or guilt of the defendant. Once the jury arrives at a unimanous decision, they will inform the judge that they have reached a decision. They will return to the court and the verdict will be read aloud. If the jury cannot reach a unaminous decision, the jury is said to be deadlocked and a mistrial will be declared in the case.

What is the Burden of Proof?

The term “Burden of Proof” means that the prosecutor is required to prove the guilt of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor cannot provide proof of the defendants guilt, then the judge or jury in a trial must find the defendant not guilty. In the United States the principle innocent until proven guilty derives from this that the defendant is assumed innocent and the prosecution has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty.

Richland County Prosecutor

For criminal cases in Richland County, the prosecutor will be a representative of Richland County. The Richland County prosecutor reviews all evidence and ultimately decides whether to file or dismiss charges in the case. Most of the time, the prosecutor has leeway in plea negotiations and determines how the case will be prosecuted.

The Right to Trial by Jury

The Sixth Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to a trial by a jury. This is applicable for when the crime can carry a sentence of 6 months in jail OR a $500 fine, these are known as “Serious Crimes”. The defendant can also waive their right to a speedy and public trial.

Richland County Criminal Court locations

Criminal proceedings take place in the Richland County Criminal Courts. A list of the criminal courts are located here.

Richland County Required Court Appearances

In Richland County, there are both required and non-required court appearances for the defendant. At a required or mandatory appearance hearing, the defendant is required to appear in person before the court. Failing to appear at your required hearing may result in a bench warrant being issued for your arrest by the judge.

Can I appeal a guilty verdict?

If found guilty, a defendant may decide to appeal his case to an appelate court. The appellate court will not retry the case, they will examine the proceedings in the lower court to make sure they were done in a legal manner. The appellate court can either uphold the original conviction, or determine that due to errors made in the original trial, that there must be a retrial, resentencing or a complete dismissal of the charges.

I need help for my Richland County criminal case

The best place to get information about your criminal case is from an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one to represent you which will assist in your case. For general information about your case the Richland County court clerk is able to provide general information about your specific case (e.g. date/time hearings, mandatory appearance, what will take place and what you will be required to do). The court clerk for Richland County will NOT be able to provide legal advice for your case, only an attorney can provide legal advice. The court clerk can provide legal information (like the information found on this website) about your case but cannot provide advice about what you should do in your legal manner.

Right to an attorney

The US Constitution’s Sixth Amendment ensures the right to an attorney regardless of whether or not you can afford one. In Richland County a public defender will be appointed by the judge if you cannot afford private representation.

What is a Plea Agreement?

A plea agreement is a deal made between the prosecution and the defendant in a case, where the defendant agrees to plea guilty to a particular charge in exchange for some concession from the prosecutor. In practice, more than 90% of criminal cases end with a plea agreement.

Richland County Criminal Court Locations

  • Richland County Circuit Court

    Address: 1701 Main Street, Room 205, PO Box 2766, Columbia, SC 29202
    Phone: 803-576-1950 Fax: 803-576-1785

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Blythewood

    Address: 118A McNulty Street, Blythewood, SC 29016
    Phone: 803-576-1580 Fax: 803-576-1583

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Bond Court

    Address: 201 John Mark Dial Drive, Columbia, SC 29209
    Phone: 803-576-3281 Fax: 803-576-3303

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Central Court

    Address: 1400 Huger Street, PO Box 192, Columbia, SC 29202
    Phone: 803-576-2300 Fax: 803-576-2326

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Columbia

    Address: 3875 Lucius Road, Columbia, SC 29201
    Phone: 803-576-2510 Fax: 803-576-2519

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Dentsville

    Address: 1400 Huger Street, Columbia, SC 29201
    Phone: 803-576-2560 Fax: 803-576-2569

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Dutch Fork

    Address: 1019 Beatty Road, Columbia, SC 29210
    Phone: 803-576-2540 Fax: 803-576-2545

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Eastover

    Address: 501 Main Street, PO Box 762, Eastover, SC 29044
    Phone: 803-576-2580 Fax: 803-576-2589

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Hopkins

    Address: 1400 Huger Street, PO Box 192, Columbia, SC 29202
    Phone: 803-576-2530 Fax: 803-576-2535

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Lykesland

    Address: 1403 Caroline Road, Columbia, SC 29209
    Phone: 803-576-2500 Fax: 803-576-2504

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Olympia

    Address: 1601 Shop Road, Suite B, Columbia, SC 29201
    Phone: 803-576-2550 Fax: 803-576-2555

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Pontiac

    Address: 10509 Two Notch Road, Suite D, Elgin, SC 29045
    Phone: 803-576-2521 Fax: 803-576-2522

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Upper Township

    Address: 4919 Rhett Avenue, Columbia, SC 29203
    Phone: 803-576-2570 Fax: 803-576-2579

  • Richland County Magistrate Court – Waverly

    Address: 2712 Middleburg Drive, Suite 106, Columbia, SC 29204
    Phone: 803-576-2590 Fax: 803-576-2599

  • Arcadia Lakes Municipal Court

    Address: 6605 Arcadia Woods Road, Columbia, SC 29206
    Phone: 803-782-2807 Fax: 803-782-2923

  • Blythewood Municipal Court

    Address: 10509 Two Notch Road, Suite D, Elgin, SC 29045
    Phone: 803-788-8232 Fax: 803-865-0889

  • Columbia Municipal Court

    Address: 811 Washington Street, PO Box 644, Columbia, SC 29202
    Phone: 803-545-3150

  • Forest Acres Municipal Court

    Address: 5205 North Trenholm Road, Columbia, SC 29206
    Phone: 803-790-5947 Fax: 803-978-2857

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